“The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” Judges 7:7 (NIV)
In today’s Lenten scripture we see Gideon preparing to go forth to battle. He is doing what he thinks needs to be done; getting as many people together as he can to be ready to move forward. . He must have been quite surprised for God to tell him to leave most of his help behind. This truly did not make common sense. This was against everything that Gideon knew to be true when preparing for combat.
The one thing that this portion of scripture struck me was that Gideon listened to God. No, it did not make any worldly sense to cut back on the troops needed to go into battle. But He listened! How are our listening ears these days? Think about this, what if God told us to leave something in our life, that we are comfortable with – just leave it alone. Actually, forget about this thing, and move forward. Don’t talk to anyone, don’t explain, just do it.
For those who will ask this question – how do we know it is God, while that is another blog topic, I will refer you to John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (NKJV)
Would we trust God? Would we even believe that it was Him because he was advising us to do something that did not make any sense to us in our common sense approach to problems? Sometimes, I think that I have God all figured out, because I have been living awhile and I have seen some things, had experiences, so even when God sets up situations to change my patterns of approach and behavior, I have thought that I can make correction as if my way is better. Now, I am being transparent here, because before I can help someone else, I need to be truly honest about me!
Earlier, I said Gideon listened, why is that? In verse 2, God told Gideon that with so many men in the army, they would think that they were self-sufficient and thus, need not depend on God. And to prove his point God gave Gideon a command in verse 3 to announce to the men “Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead,” and as such 22,000 men left the army because they were afraid. God finally reduced the number to just 300 and clearly told Gideon that he was to obey Him in His selection.
Gideon listened, saw results, just as we have many times over in our lives when we have listened to God. I just believe had Gideon gone into battle with all of the people that he had recruited because it made more sense to him then he stood a great chance of losing the Lord on his side. Think on this, if 22,000 men who left, had actually stayed, what would have happened in that battle?
Sometimes God may call us to make an unorthodox move to send His word forth. Are we prepared to be used by God in such a manner as this? Some of us are just sitting there wondering what is going on and what should we do next. We must be careful that God isn’t saying, “Leave this, that or the other behind and move forward now!”
May, I suggest that we refresh, regroup and reorganize our thinking, so that God can do a new thing in us. As soon as we accept what God allows, new things will be exposed and opportunities will be abound because we are aligned in God! Be Victorious today!
1 Peter 4:1-2 (NRSV) Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2 so as to live for the rest of your earthly life[b] no longer by human desires but by the will of God
I got saved when I was a pre-teen. I recall thinking there are so many restrictions associated with being a Christian. You can’t do this, that or the other. You can bet that all of those things I wanted to do were things that were harmful for me. I can see it now, but certainly could not appreciate the danger back then. Even as I grew up I still thought this life of being a believer comes with so many restrictions, why would anyone commit to this way of living. Still, as I reflect now I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it. Can We Talk?!
Now that I have grown up and understand better my purpose and the purpose and power of my salvation, I understand that the boundaries, restrictions or the Laws were not designed to keep me in bondage, but they were designed to set me free. When I think about no longer being a slave to sin and giving into every desire of my flesh, I understand that I am set free by those boundaries. Do I still sin? YES. Come on, you know the answer to that. Am I under the dominion of sin? NO! There is a difference.
When we are under the dominion of sin, we HAVE to sin. We don’t have a choice. Sin may in fact, be our way of life. When I recognize the power over sin I have through the blood of Christ I am able to DECIDE or CHOOSE to sin OR NOT in every situation in my life. I am aware that the choices I am making are sinful and those choices have the potential to lead to death.
I hope that you can comprehend the freedom that your salvation affords you. When we are able to live according to the will of God, instead of being driven by our fleshly desires we are set free. As a believer there are certain activities that I choose not to partake in. But that does not mean that I am missing out on anything. In fact, the opposite is true. I have gained so much through this relationship with Jesus. Riches untold. Loving the Lord makes us want to live according to His will. For me, it means that I have freedom to live a wonderfully blessed life.
“Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against me.” Jeremiah 33:6-8 NKJV
The Bible is full of God promises regarding healing and sickness. God shows us in his word that the time of restoration would bring joy, such as that of a bride and bridegroom at a wedding feast. Prayer is one way in which believers claim the promises of God. It is through prayer that God reveals his character and his blessing. I believe that prayer is key to healing and blessing.
As a believer commits to prayer, he promises to respond. In his word, just a few verses before he says ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV) He answers us liberally, abundantly and generously. In these verses 6-18 the elements of forgiveness of sin, healing, restoration and prosperity appear.
Are you in need of a healing, forgiveness or restoration? Call on Jesus!
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9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
This Sunday we has a sermon on tithing. This can bring up some difficult feelings when people think about it as being forced to give 10% to God. We could think about it as having 90% for ourselves. However, that is really an aside. The message really had me thinking about my thoughts about my attitude surrounding my giving.
There are times I think that every fiber of my being believes that the Lord is going to continue to provide. I know that I know that God loves me and I act accordingly. In these times, being a good steward is just as important as when I let doubt creep hang around. However, the difference is the future that I cannot see is more securely rooted in the Lord. When this happens, I act confidently and step boldly into each day. Don’t think I know where my financial blessing is at that moment. However, I am more comfortable with the fact that I have absolutely no idea who everything will unfold. As I ask God to order my steps in those moments, I am firmly planted on the path he puts before me.
When my pastor spoke on tithing and the self-righteous attitude that the Pharisees had, I took a moment to think about my perspective on whatever I gave. I’m certainly not feeling self-righteous and boastful. However, I’m not giving with the knowing that God is my supply. It’s really not the act of giving that I need to question. Rather, I need to examine why I’ve let the little seed of doubt creep into my head. I’ve been in situations before where the next dollar was nowhere to be found and God delivered. I can say I am the ultimate witness. One would think with a testimony from time and time again, I would be unmovable in my financial faith. I’m not. Or really, I wasn’t. In that moment, I decided to make a change.
I am the person who plays close attention to the words I say around my financial situation. I truly believe that words have power and the most powerful words are the ones I’m telling myself inside my head. Sunday, I flipped the switch in my head. I conformed my words to the life I plan on living…and the plan starts now. Trust, I’m not broke. I have more money now and more sources of funds than I did when God blessed me before. However, I was acting as if all I have was leaving me. It’s not. More importantly, God made a way for me to have what I have and is blessing me even now and in my future.
The interesting thing about a complete positive attitude adjustment is that it frees up space in your mind for other ideas to come in place of the doubt. Some of the ideas that came to me in the minutes and hours after service have significant $$$ potential. If I remember that God is leading all of my life and I know that all things are possible. When I have that knowing, new possibilities exist.
This is true for me and you. Check your giving attitude. A change just might free you and give comfort in your current and growing abundance.
4 Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, 5 it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is an interesting word something that most of us tend to use quite flippantly for things we like, appreciate and want but the scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 truly sums up what love is.
I love my husband, I love my children, I love my parents, I love my sister and I love my friends. At the same time I canot say that the love I have for these special people in my life, has prevented me from displaying negative emotions towards them.
Lent is a time of reflection, prayer, deepening our relationship with God and a reminder of the great sacrifice that was made on our behalf, through Jesus because God loved us. Hopefully the Lenten Challenge has been able to support you in all of this.
For me the Lenten Challenge is a time to draw closer to God and learn from his teachings. This will enable me to love myself more by treating my body right through my diet and physical activity, whilst also enabling me to love others around me in a way that truly reflects what love is about.
God’s love for us is not finite, it is not dependent on our actions, it is not to control us, it always urges us on, it is never angry or hurtful, it will never fail us!
My prayer for me and for you is for God to open our hearts and guide us, such that we too can love ourselves and one another in the same way that he loves us.
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Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Do you Trust Him??
First, let me start by saying that it is an honor to be amongst so many awesome people that are involved in this Lenten challenge. It has been a pleasure to read all of the posts that have been submitted here for this great event. To be honest, I was a bit nervous because I wanted to write well for each of you.
As I sat back and prayed before I typed a single word, I looked at my bible verse and the first four words put me at ease. “Trust in the Lord.” See many times, when we get nervous and we tend to tense up and doubt ourselves, but we forget to trust in the lord that he has our back through any trial that is upon us.
There was a time in my life that I did not trust in the lord, I am not ashamed to say that because I am sure not that same person today. I would question everything; I had trust issues as many of us still may have today. Did you guys see that “(HAD)”? Let me reassure you that since giving myself back to Christ 3 years ago it has been all or nothing. It is either trust him or you do not and I TRUST him!! It may not be easy at times, but I trust God with all of my heart that everything is going to be just fine. That even applies to our Lenten challenge.
See, with the challenge we are giving up things that we usually would indulge in to make us happy, comfort us, or just because. As I sit here right next to my favorite lemon cake, I take a drink of my lemon water, and I will not ask why. Sometimes, we need to give things up and not ask why, deep down it is to get us off that rigid road and back on a straighter smoother path to a better and healthier life.
Therefore, Trust that God is with you each day through this challenge…I know I do!
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Instead of focusing on my love, I’ve been thinking about all the people who have demonstrated love to me. Clearly, everyday I have been blessed. Often the blessings that come to me are through others. Support from others in projects that I start is a big way people have shown their love. The individuals may not have thought about it as love. However, I’m taking it that way. In fact, some support that I’ve received hasn’t even been because people are trying to support me.
The one thing staring us in the face, right now, is the participation of so many people in this Lenten Challenge. First, Gillian Stephens and Aqua Copeland so generously got on board to help make this 40 day journey happen. They reached out to their network and found others who were willing to get on board. These collaborators don’t even know me. Some may follow GospelFit on Twitter or Facebook, but probably haven’t connected it to me. What motivated them is their love of the Lord and belief that this concept is worthwhile. I have become the “everyone else” that the scripture references. I thank each and everyone one of them for their stepping out and demonstrating their faith in action. I am so grateful that the love of the Lord is so powerful and it blesses me all the time.
Now that I’ve done my little Holy dance of praise for others, I really need to make sure that I am open and letting God strengthen my heart. It is easy to say and to think you’re doing the right thing. Now, is the time for me to do more self-reflection and make some appropriate adjustments. I’m good most of the time. I’m working on getting better all of the time. Having found a community of people who love the Lord and can connect it with all of their entire life, I know that I have support. I know that my love will act like Luke 6:38.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
I know that the love of the Lord will always exceed and multiply whatever love I can share. The Lord has demonstrated this with His death at the cross and resurrection. What a blessing!
Colossians 2:6-7 NLT “and now just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
I want to open this blog with a story from my own journey “4HisTemple” :
I had started walking with the desire to improve my fibromyalgia and changing my eating habits at Gods suggestion. I could not walk 5 minutes when I started. At the time of this story I was regularly wogging a mile in 13 – 15 minutes. Wogging is a combination of fast walking and jogging.
I turned on my running app that would tell me when I had finished a mile and began the morning wog. With some praise music in my ears I talked about things with God. After awhile I decided to look at my app and see how much was left of my mile and saw it was blank. I began to worry and panic How would I know when a mile was up? How will I know when to stop?
I heard a voice whisper trust. It was God and He was telling me to just keep going and He would tell me when I needed to stop. With a mixture of excitement and anxiousness at the lack of control I continued down the hill and around the curve where my 30 second jog started. I kept trying to remember how many times I had circled and wishing I knew when to stop. Each time my mind wandered to myself, God gently called my attention back to Him. After a few circles around the track my conversation changed.
My legs began to burn and ache and I questioned God, “Are You sure I don’t need to stop? This is really hard.” He would respond, “I am running with You, not much longer now.”
Another circle, breathing heavy, huffing and puffing. Coming up to my jog, hurting bad. “God I don’t think my legs with hold me up much longer, are You sure?” God pressed me on, “I am right beside you, I will not let you fall remember I promised you in my word.” At that statement I rounded the curve to begin my 30 second jog again and hesitated. “Come to me follow me, I will not let you fall. Just a little further.” God seemed to be right in my ear. I began forward slow and increased then into a full run down the hill around the other curve and landed on my knees in the grass. God met me there and told me to pull out my phone. I looked at the app and had run 2 miles. Not because of my strength or desire, but on Gods strength and my desire to please Him. I stood up with breath and no pain.
“you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.”
I had been trusting God from day one, just as you at the beginning of the lent challenge to strength, bless and sustain me as I walked. He had done that bringing me from less than 5 minutes to a mile. I had added Bible study and prayer to self control concerning exercise and food. It caused my roots to grow deep in Christ and trust Him. At the beginning I would not have been able to trust Him, but He knew I had not gone my full potential. He knew how far I could go and wanted to show me.
You have come so far don’t stop now!
You are starting the Second mile!
Victory awaits you!
Self control is daunting. The fight is even more intense when coupled with physical or mental ailments such as Fibromyalgia, fatigue, depression and anxiety. You may face one of these or a combination and I want to tell you victory is sure. Victory is guaranteed If you just hold on and listen to Jesus voice He will guide you and not let you fall.
When you feel yourself fighting urges to cave, wanting to eat some sweets or meat, hit your knees. He will take care of you, He will calm that. I have learned in my journey not to pray as the Pharisees for trial and trouble to be removed but rather that my desire to obey and please Jesus would increase. It has helped me in every area of my life, He is faithful. So faithful.
“Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
After this happened at the track I started wogging as God lead me. It is amazing, I still track my runs for my accountability partner as I can but I do not look at the app to see when to stop. Since this happened my faith and trust has grown. My thankfulness has as well, knowing that He will not take me further than I can go and will not let me fall as long as I trust Him. I am so excited for each of you! I know at the end of this Lenten challenge your faith, trust and thankfulness with be greatly increased as well! Continue in Christ as you have already accepted Him and started strong in Him.
God’s great blessings and love fill you.
Nehemiah 8:6 (NIV) Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
It is time to praise the Lord! No matter what is going on, praise the Lord. Sometimes, it seems as if things are not changing. It may feel as if time is stuck on an unpleasant moment. Know in those moments that praise will make it better.
Part of the praise in the down times is a reminder that God has delivered us before. Things have been less than perfect before and the Lord has seen us through. There have been things that some of us have thought we wouldn’t survive, but we did. In fact, we have thrived all because of the love of God. This is a love that is always with us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
When you know that God is so good, there are moments that you can’t keep it inside. The deep knowing of this is something that you will share in all times and use to encourage yourself when things look less than ideal.
There are times when you may need to do your own little praise dance. These may be the best when you know things are good. When you know that you have been blessed and everything around you is going well. It could be a simple moment when you share with someone else that God is good or you could be praising Him. Recognizing, feeling and knowing that God’s love is always with you can be transformational.
Romans 8:39 (NIV) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our challenge during this Lenten season is to fully appreciate how much God loves us. The ultimate sacrifice for our salvation and for our lives connects us with God’s power in every moment. Truly a reason for praise. Amen!
John 3:3 (NIV) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
I want to see the kingdom of God. Don’t you? Being born again is the foundation of our faith. Jesus tells us in John 3:3 that we must be born again to see God’s kingdom. What then are we to do? How can we ensure that we are born again?
It isn’t by our works. We know this from Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) which states: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
This being “saved” is being born again and spiritually renewed. Our new birth happens as we trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This is what this Lenten season is about. Recognizing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again is our first step to salvation. We need to believe this is true for our spiritually rebirth.
2 Corinthians 5:17(NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
We become new in Christ. We grow in our trust in the Lord as we commit to our journey in Christ. When we seek out the Lord, we allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. Our life on earth and our life everlasting will be changed for the good.
Have you confessed that the Lord is your Savior? Do you know for yourself that Jesus died to save you of your sins? Are you building your trust in Jesus Christ? If you are already committed to Lord, do you need to renew yourself during this Lenten Challenge?
John 1:12-13 (NIV) 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
If you have yet to commit yourself to the Lord and wish to do so, now is your time. Believe in your heart and live the life you confess with your mouth. Below is a prayer of salvation. Be clear, it is not the prayer that saves you. It is your belief that Jesus Christ came to save YOU from your sins. Salvation starts with your faith.
“God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness—the gift of eternal life! Amen!” from GotQuestions.com
I pray for you in support and know that all who accept are truly born again.